In 2008, as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police grappled with a public-relations crisis involving misspent pension funds, one officer in particular came in for harsh public scrutiny. That never should have happened, and it is time to restore the woman’s reputation.
Parliament was investigating reports, originally printed in the National Post, that millions of dollars of pension contributions had been wrongfully spent, and that senior RCMP officers had been trying to cover it up. The affair featured senior Mounties accusing each other of serious acts of misconduct.
One, Deputy Commissioner Barbara George, was accused by several colleagues of providing false testimony to parliament’s public expenditures committee — in other words, perjury. Despite repeatedly professing her innocence, the committee members were unmoved, and recommended that Ms. George be found in contempt of parliament. The motion was passed unanimously without debate, effectively destroying Ms. George’s until-then highly successful career. Unable to continue in her duties as a Mountie after having been found in contempt by the legislature, Ms. George resigned, still professing her innocence. Two separate investigations subsequently found that Ms. George had done no wrong, but it was too late. Parliament had spoken. Her career was ruined.